Lepakshi

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Sri Sailam
Dharmavaram
Alur Fort
Gooty Fort
Hemavathi Fort
Lepakshi 
Tadipatri
Penna Ahobilam
Penu Konda Fort
Raidurga Fort
Thimmamma Marrimanu
Sri Kadiri Laxmi Narayana Temple 
Puttaparthi
Other Tourist Places


Lepakshi is a small village, which lies 15-km east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh. It is the most important place in the district from the historical and archaeological point of view. A trip to Lepakshi is revitalising for those who believe in heritage sites, for those who marvel at the art of our ancestors, and those willing to get away from the routine multiple-destination tourist routes. The place is renowned as the repository of the best mural paintings of the Vijayanagar Kings.
Lepakshi consists of three shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and 'Virabhadra'. On one of the hillocks near the place is known as "Kurma Saila" (tortoise shaped hill), are located the temples of 'Papanatheswara', 'Raghunatha', 'Srirama', 'Veerabhadra' and 'Durga', of which the Veerabharadra temple is the most important.

Veerabhadra temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. A reference is made in the 'Skandapurana' to Lepakshi as one of the hundred and eight important 'Shaiva Kshetras' (shrines). Though the temple of Veerabhadra is claimed to have been constructed by Saint 'Agastya' himself, it was developed into the present exquisite shrine by 'Virupanna', the treasurer of the Vijayanagar Kings.He conceived the idea as he found the image of Veerabhadra.

He executed the plan in the absence of the king and used the treasure when he was away at Vijayanagar. When the construction was almost finished and it was being supervised the king returned and found the treasure empty. The king ordered, as a punishment to this heinous crime, that he should be blinded. The treasurer being a loyal person carried out the punishment spot with his own bands.

Even today one can see two dark stains upon the wall near the 'Kalyana Mandapa', which are said to be the marks made by his eyes, which he himself dashed against the wall. The builder did not survive for a long time and the village is called "Lepa-akshi Lepakshi", i.e., a village of the blinded eye.

The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Mukha Mandapa', (also called 'Nitya Mandapa' or 'Ranga Mandapa'), the 'Artha Mandapa' and 'Garbha Griha', and the 'Kalyana Mandapa', with 38 carved monolithic pillars in grey sandstone is unfinished. These three form a triangle with a common Mandapam.

As per local legend Lord Shiva and Parvati were married on the spot where the Kalyana Mandapa stands. The temple is surrounded on all sides by an outer enclosure. A second inner enclosure contains the main portion of the temple. Its finest parts are the 'Natya' (Dancing) and 'Ardha' (worship) Mandapas. The former is decorated with superbly sculptured pillars on, which are carved life-size representations of musicians and dancers in various poses displaying spirit and vigour. The Kalyana Mandapam is a standing monument to the exuberance of Vijayanagar art but it is left unfinished.

The best specimens of the Vijayanagar style of sculpture and mural paintings are found in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams (dance and wedding halls). These sculptures depict puranic episodes like those of 'Ananthasayana', 'Dattatreya', 'Chaturmukha Bramha', 'Tumburu', 'Narada' and 'Rambha'.



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